Police Detective Del Castigliano has left Madison, Wisconsin for Seattle, ostensibly to pursue opportunities in Homicide, but really to get away from a failed engagement and memories of his ex. He’s partnered with hotshot veteran detective Moss Gunderson, who’s generously given him the lead on his first case in Seattle. A man living on a houseboat had spotted two objects floating in the marina the night before. Thinking they were logs that could damage several of the anchored boats, he’d gone out to investigate, and discovered that the logs were actually two waterlogged corpses. Moss has plenty of other cases to work on, so hands this one off to Del, intimating that it’s likely a case of a border crossing gone wrong.
Del plunges into the work but finds himself quickly stumped for leads. As he works every possible angle in his new position at his new precinct, he slowly uncovers a criminal conspiracy that could have dire consequences if exposed, for both himself and the few friends he’s made in Seattle so far. Del doesn’t know who to trust as he must struggle to balance the demands of truth with survival in this riveting novelette.
For such a short read, this story packs a punch, quickly filling readers in on Del’s background and surroundings, and investing us deeply in his future. I really want to know what happens next! Even tho I’d never read any Robert Dugoni before this, I’m very much interested in reading more now.
We’ve been lucky enough to participate in the blog tour for The Last Line, so find below an excerpt from the story, as well as a giveaway, our first! Click on the link or the widget at the bottom of the page to enter to win a copy of The Last Line, as well as a $20 Amazon gift card.
The Last Line Excerpt
Del drove from the parking garage into a blustery and cold November morning—cold being relative. In Madison, anything above freezing was balmy for November, though Del was starting to understand what Seattleites meant when they said it wasn’t the temperature that chills you; it’s the dampness. He could feel the cold in his bones. A stiff wind rocked his metallic-blue Oldsmobile Cutlass. The wind had started blowing late the prior evening; branches of a tree scraping against Del’s bedroom window had kept him awake half the night.
He drove from Capitol Hill with the defroster on high and worked his way around the southern edge of Lake Union, noting marinas and water-based businesses. He pulled into a parking lot where Moss stood beside a black Buick LeSabre, sipping coffee and towering over a patrol officer. Moss was almost as big as Del, who stood six foot five and weighed 250 pounds.
Del pulled up the collar of his coat against the howling wind as he approached the two men. He recognized the green logo on Moss’s Starbucks coffee cup, the company name taken from Captain Ahab’s first mate on the Pequod, the whaling ship Moby Dick sent to the bottom of the ocean. The logo, a green siren, tempted sailors to jump overboard and drown. Neither was a good omen.
“Look what the cat dragged out. Did we wake you, Elmo?”
“Funny.” Del had heard iterations of Elmo since his teens, when the beloved puppet first appeared on Sesame Street. Moss introduced Del to Mike Nuccitelli, the patrol sergeant. “How’d you get here so quick?” Del asked Moss. He understood Moss lived in West Seattle, twenty minutes farther from the marina than Del’s apartment.
“I didn’t take time to do my hair.” Moss rubbed the bristles of a crew cut. “I’m like my name. You know. A rolling stone.”
Del knew. More than once, Moss had told him his parents bequeathed him the moniker because as a child he never remained still. Vic Fazzio had said it was more likely Moss gave himself the nickname. His Norwegian first name was Asbjorn.
“Halloway here?” Del asked.
“At this hour of the morning?” Moss scoffed. “Stayaway doesn’t come out this early on a cold morning unless he thinks the brass might show up and he can shine their badges with his nose.”
“What do we got?” Del asked.
“Two grown men. Looks like they drowned,” Nuccitelli said. “We’re waiting for the ME.”
“What more do we know about the victims; anything?” Del asked.
Nuccitelli raised the fur collar of his duty jacket against the wind. “Hispanic is my guess, though the bodies are pretty bloated and their skin the color of soot. I’m guessing roughly late twenties to early thirties, but again . . .”
“They didn’t have any ID?” Del asked.
“Not on them,” Nuccitelli said.
“That strike you as odd—they didn’t have ID?”
Nuccitelli smiled. “Not my job. That’s your job.”
“How far out is the ME?” Moss looked and sounded disinterested.
Nuccitelli checked his watch. “Should be here in ten.”
“We’ll take it from here.”